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Not Sure How To Set Up A Weekly Money Routine? Read This Now.

Not Sure How To Set Up A Weekly Money Routine? Read This Now.

When it comes to financial matters, sometimes we wish they would just go away. Sometimes it’s a matter of keeping it all organized: between the student loan bills, the house payment and the car payments, it can seem overwhelming. Other times, it’s about stretching what little there might be to go around. Whatever the issue, it’s important to set up a routine with your money. Setting up a routine sets you up for success and keeps you from being surprised each month that the Internet bill really has to be paid, yet again.

Here are some steps you can take to optimize your weekly money spending (and receiving) routine.

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1. Look over your expenses.

Go through each of your monthly expenses and categorize them. It’s important to set up priorities and determine how you want to pay your bills. Paying different bills each week will help you do this. If your rent is due on the first of the month, schedule that payment for the last week of every month and so forth. If you expect to pay a certain amount in bills at end of each week, you’ll be more mentally prepared for it when it happens.

2. Pay bills as they arrive.

Instead of blasting out a bunch of cash every payday, pay each bill as it arrives. You can do this very easily by automating your bill payments. Paying your bills this way keeps you from ever “missing” that money. However, send yourself a reminder before it happens! If you forget and you take that money out ahead of time, you might overdraft your account. Paying your bills on time keeps your credit score up and helps you keep ahead of any late fees or extra charges you might incur otherwise.

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3. Go over the budget and look for places to save.

Once you go over your expenses, if you feel like you’re struggling to make ends meet, look for places where you can save. If you’re not sure if there are expenses you can cut, try and write down all of your expenditures for one month in a notebook. All of them. Every latte you buy at a coffee shop and every magazine at a store. Write down every single time you spend money or swipe a card. Doing this will give you a real idea of where your money goes — and where you can cut back, if need be.

4. Keep a personal money statement going.

At the beginning of the month, start a monthly money statement. You can do this in a spreadsheet on the computer or just a piece of paper that you pin to the bulletin board. Write down your goals, such as paying towards a debt, saving money for an emergency fund, saving towards the purchase of a car, that sort of thing. Each week, square up the statement, writing down for each week how much you contributed to those accounts or saved towards a certain goal. Write down next to each goal the motivation to pursue that goal. Use a quote or statement of affirmation, if it helps. Try something like, “Pay yourself first. You’re worth it. And your grand kids will thank you.”

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5. Revamp your routine as necessary.

After an initial trial period, go over your routine and revamp it. Maybe paying that one bill at the beginning of the month just didn’t work out. Maybe you forgot about another bill. Perhaps you were a little ambitious with your saving plan. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to adjust accordingly. And don’t forget to be flexible too. Life changes, you need to be able to adapt your weekly money routine to new things. Also, don’t forget to change a bit with the seasons. If you do a lot more visiting or vacationing in the summer, adjust your plan for that as well!

Featured photo credit: University of Utah via unews.utah.edu

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More by this author

Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Michelle is an explorer, editor, author of 15 books, and mom of eight.

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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